The young Reds twice took the lead against Derby County at Carrington, but were twice pegged back by the determined Midlanders.
Derby made it difficult for United with an energetic start to the match. But the Reds went in front on 23 minutes when Federico Macheda went through on goal before squaring the ball to his strike-partner Evandro Brandao to make it 1-0.
United's lead remained intact through some impressive defending, but five minutes after the restart Derby found a way through.
Derby had already hit the woodwork as a warning to United. But Derby's pressure soon told as the Reds failed to clear a corner and Aleksander Prijovic levelled the scores.
Paul McGuinness sensed a change was needed and brough on Chris Curran for triallist Lee Askham, while Nicky Ajose replaced Brandao.
It paid instant dividends. Macheda and skipper Matty James combined to play in Ajose, who used his pace to race through and calmly slot the ball home.
From another corner, Derby proved successful. Forward Henrik Ojamaa was on hand to finish after the set-piece had been headed back across goal.
Derby had some late chances but United held firm to clinch a hard-fought point.
United: Woods; Strickland, Brown, Wootton, Gill; Askham (Ajose 52), James, Norwood, Stewart; Brandao (Curran 52), Macheda.
Sub not used: Devlin.